Debengeni: A hidden treasure in the misty hills

  • by African Times
  • 3 Years ago
  • 0


YOU turn into a dirt road from the R71 and drive about two kilometres through a spectacular plantation.

From a distance the road resembles a cup of spilt hot chocolate trickling down a painting of a green rain forest.

The road twists and turns gently until you come to a boom gate at the summit of a great hill. Once you’ve paid the R10 entrance fee you drive down a slope and turn slightly to the left and pull up at a spacious car park.

Hidden treasure: Patrons chill at Debengeni Waterfalls in Magoebaskloof, Tzaneen, Limpopo. Photos: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

You walk down over a wooden pedestrian walkway underneath which runs a fast-flowing stream of clear water.

And there it is towards the left. A mass of water plunging down 80-metres from the hills.  In fact, its roar begins to invite you down to marvel at its godly beauty from at least a hundred metres away.

The exceptionally beautiful Debengeni Falls. It’s an imposing spectacle of nature that is bound to leave you dry mouthed in respectful awe.

It is arguably one of Limpopo’s hidden treasures, a marvel concealed deep in the imposing forests of Magoebaskloof outside Tzaneen in Limpopo.

The volumes of roaring water plunge from the hills into a large, circular pool which gives the falls its name, Debengeni, meaning place of the big pot in a dialect of the local Khelobedu language.

The water stirs and stirs in circles in the natural big pot before flowing downstream into numerous ravines that join up into another bigger river that flows eastwards to worlds afar.

It is of course nowhere near the Tugela Falls which plunges over 900 metres or the Eastern Cape’s 103 metres Bawa Falls.

But Debengeni is unique in that the falls are in such close proximity you can actually smell and feel the water droplets soothe your face.

The large pool of crystal clear water is enticing for a dip, especially during the depressingly hot summer months.

But there are no trained life guards on duty so anyone who takes a dip does so knowing that their fate lies either in their swimming skills or with the gods.

In fact, there are boards warning that a number of moegoes have actually drowned in these pools. So, be careful, or as the Afrikaans would warn, stadig my kind, stadig jong!

Down by the picnic site, families and groups of merry friends sit on wooden tables laid out in a sort of amphitheatre laid out at the foot of the hills.

Dazzling sunlight pierces through the tall trees that seem to touch the sky, creating a sweet and somewhat romantic ambience on the scene.

Debengeni offers hiking trails into the hills and is a perfect spot for a lazy getaway from the rat race.

It also has braai stands and ample sitting space for those who prefer laying out the table and lunching in style.

The forest around the falls teems with bird life. Interestingly, the forest is also home to the Bush Strike, which
is found only in this part of the world.

Yes, if the gods actually cared to do it, they would inscribe this bird with the words, ‘Made in Debengeni.’

But well, that’s a story for another day. What a pity there were no guides on the day of my shot-left to this real
gem of a place.

It would be great to have guided trail walks here, for it is always best to find out what lies hidden in the hills.

This is more especially so if you are under the watch of an experienced and knowledgeable guide.

This is a piece of paradise and perhaps the authorities would do well to pump some rands into giving it a little bit of a facelift and position it as one of the prime destinations for local and international travelers who just want to have fun. – Mukurukuru Media

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